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Tuckytres 01-12-2011 09:53 AM

looking at cameras
Megan and I are looking for a DSLR camera and were looking for advise on what to buy. This will be our first experience with this so any advise is appreciated. Also is there any shops to stay away from?
We have between 600 and 800 to spend. Thanks for the help, Art

CardinalFJ60 01-12-2011 10:54 AM

my advice...
at that price range you'll find sweet Canons and Nikons. Either way you go, you'll get a great camera. I say check out the Nikon D3100 and D5000 and the comparable Canons. Then...go to a camera store to actually hold them and use the menus and buttons. does it "feel" right? do the controls make sense to you? Does it fit well in your hands?

As much fun as I have with the Canon vs. Nikon game - they are the tops and you really can't go wrong with either.

You may want to research those fancy new mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras? (pricey, but cool). the SOny NEX3/5 and the Lumix GF1(?) are pretty cool. they are smaller than a DSLR, have interchangable lenses and give excellent image quality.

I hope that helps get you started.

Hulk 01-12-2011 11:05 AM

Take a look at the Nikon D5000 and the Nikon D3100 (brand new). They are both DSLRs in your price range. The Nikon D90 is a good camera as well, and it is just a bit more expensive (about $940 from Sam's Club).

You can get a better price online, but some places will not be authorized Nikon dealers. They sell grey market cameras, which means they are cameras built to be sold in non-U.S. markets. Usually the cameras and lenses are exactly the same, but you won't get a Nikon USA warranty.

You can't beat B & H Photo for great service and information. If you call them, you will get great help on the phone and answers to all your questions.

Sam's Club and Costco are good places to look as well.

Canon, Sony and others make excellent stuff too, but I wouldn't know where to start.

Inukshuk 01-12-2011 11:51 AM

B&H and Adorama are the tops online. 100% legit but don't expect any sort of warm fuzzy service. I bought my Canon Xsi kit at Costco. Best price and easiest return. It was a kit with body, two lenses and a bag. You don't really need a camera bag. I went and bought a small pelican case later anyway. A backpack and towel work well too. :thumb:

Also budget around $50 for a UV filter which is primarily to protect the end of your lens from dirt and scratches. It is much easier to replace a filter than a $3-800 lens.

Doing it again I'd buy the camera body alone and then one good lens, such as a 28-135 IS (IS=image stabilized).

Counter-intuitive at first, the higher end cameras often have fewer features because features = automation while less features = more custom photographer control and usually better components.

On the other hand, the new mirrorless ones with lenses are intriguing.

All in all, your eye, how useable it is for you and the lens are the most important features. DSLR feature can be overwhelming. And its tough to get a great DSLR at the $600 end. You have no idea how many of those camera rigs you see are $3-6000.00 setups (not mine FWIW)

Used is another option.

CardinalFJ60 01-12-2011 11:56 AM

Pawn shops!!
I totally agree with that last post! and check out pawn shops...post up here for what to look for in used gear. A co-worker and fellow hobby photographer mentioned that he saw some fiiiiiine lookin' lenses at a pawn shop while he was looking for a rifle scope.

I only buy my gear at B&H/Adorama.

GLASS, GLASS, GLASS! get the best lens(es) you can get that will work with your body....you can and will upgrade the body...lenses are forever. (:lmao: )

pmccumber 01-12-2011 12:19 PM

I would definitely shop the used market. Lots and lots of photogs buy a body and then drool over the latest that has come out and get another one with only 700 shots on their old bodies.

So look at Craigslist and get a two or three year old body with a kit lens for ~$400. Then start learning what you like to shoot: landscapes? you might want a wide angle or fast fixed. wildlife? a bigger zoom. indoor? an upgraded flash or yet a faster lens.

But beyond the kit, you're buying glass that you're gonna keep for your next body.

Cheeseman 01-12-2011 05:56 PM

Remember one important thing. Glass is the only thing the sensor sees. That is where you put your money. And f2.8 lenses are the best and always the most expensive. Get them if you can afford it. But they will also be a little heavier.

35 years of buying photo stuff.

Tuckytres 01-13-2011 12:42 AM

Thanks for all the advise we have a lot to look at and consider. I will keep you posted, Art

Kipper 01-13-2011 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by Inukshuk (Post 172672)
I bought my Canon Xsi kit at Costco. Best price

x2 - You basically get a free lens and bag with that costco deal. I'm dumb and can't figure out high tech stuff, so I wanted a good camera that took good pics in dummy mode. The Canon beat the Nikon in all of my test experiments at camera shops. I know I use it wrong, so I wanted something that did well under adverse user conditions. I just wish we bought it before our first kid was born, the quality is so much better than our best point-n-shoot and it's really fast...

Tuckytres 05-23-2011 09:37 AM

Sunday we finally decided on the camera and we bought a factory reconditioned Nikon D5000 body and then bought an AF-S DX 18-105 lens f/3.5-5.6. We bought the 3 year extended warranty for both just in case. Now comes the fun of learning how to use it.

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